Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard a lot of hype about the New Zealand government’s plan to have ultra-fast broadband available for most Kiwis by 2019. While this would be a great thing for our country, 2019 is still a wee way off, and the fact is that not all New Zealanders are getting the best deal for themselves today. So, what do you need to know when reviewing or choosing your broadband package?

First up, if you already have broadband, how does it shape up relative to the rest of the country? While prices and data allowances are easy enough to compare on sites such as priceme.co.nz, have you ever had a sneaking suspicion that your broadband speed just wasn’t what it could be? The government-owned Research and Education Advanced Network New Zealand (REANNZ) thinks that you have the right to know too, and set up the New Zealand Broadband Test site in 2012. This site will compare your broadband speed with others across the country as well as comparing the results of different internet service providers. Go here to try: www.nzbt.org.nz. Be aware though, that if you’re out on a remote country station, your speed is unlikely to always be as fast as someone in Central Wellington.

The next thing to consider is the type of broadband that you’d like to buy. Here in good old Godzone, we have four main types:

ADSL (or in technical language ‘Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line’). Most Kiwi homes with broadband use this form of connection, which uses telephone wires to provide a generally reliable, cost-effective and fast service. An added benefit is that ADSL is available in almost every region!

Cable. Fibre-optic cable is what the ‘ultra-fast’ broadband project is all about. A cable connection can provide greater bandwidth than an ADSL connection, resulting in faster internet access for you! The current network covers most urban centres in New Zealand, although more and more cable is being laid each day. This is great news for people in Gore who like watching a lot of TVNZ On Demand!

Wireless. Wireless broadband (Wi-Fi) works by using radio frequencies to transmit data from radio towers to your device. Wi-Fi is available across the country and is generally quite reliable, although it can be affected by weather and local topography. This is the probably the most convenient and flexible broadband option for the average Kiwi.

Satellite. If you’re in a remote part of New Zealand, satellite broadband could be just the thing for you, as it boldly goes where other broadband options simply cannot. Satellite broadband today is reasonably cost effective and reliable, and can provide coverage anywhere.

Finally, the actual package or provider that you choose will depend largely on the individual needs of you, your family or your business. The packages (and prices!) offered by providers can vary immensely, so don’t be afraid to talk at length to salespeople and shop around until you find the package that works best for you. Happy shopping!

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